Residents Only by Robert Aickman

PS I have now copied the whole of that TLO post, as linked above, in comment below…

2 thoughts on “Residents Only by Robert Aickman

  1. A TLO post by CNPAPPAS on 5 July 2018:-

    From 06-10-2007 by Nemonymous
    Re: Robert Aickman

    Who agrees with me that ‘Residents Only’ is possibly Aickman’s masterpiece?
    It is one of his longest stories. Which is sort of relevant. When I started reading it, the glanced-at length seemed about average for Aickman – but as I continued reading it, and looking, from time to time, at the pages still to read, it seemed bodily to grow, as if the act of reading made it longer. A bit like the very British committee system embodied in its plot, the cemetery committee itself that is the centrepiece, reminding me of Jarndyce & Jarndyce or of a meal at Aickman’s own Hospice. I mean this quite seriously … and this seemed to be confirmed by the story’s coda with these words: “Everyone perceived that the past should be allowed to merge into the future, with no official recognition given to an interregnum.”

    I found this old post by Nemonymous after having just finished “Residents Only,” as I work my way through the new Aickman collection “Uncommon Games.” Since this is my only exposure to Aickman (that I can recall), I would not feel right calling it his masterpiece but it is to me a shockingly great story (and has special resonance to me – see paragraph below). My main reason for this post is to note that I also felt the story growing in length as I read – every few pages I would flip to the end of the story page number to confirm that I was really making progress. Needless to say, I was quite delighted to find the referenced old post.

    I had the great pleasure many years ago of coming across a large completely overgrown cemetery in the shadows of the skyscrapers of a major urban city center. By large cemetery, I mean acres and acres of dense overgrowth fully obscuring the cast-iron fencing, the headstones, statues, animal statues, obelisks and granite balls adorning scores of graves. The overgrowth made exploration of the cemetery a strenuous and time-consuming endeavor. It would often take me several re-explorations to relocate a point of interest earlier noted. Thousands of, as Aickman says, “coffin-rope vines.”

    Fortunately, over the years I was able to document the overgrown cemetery on 16mm and 35mm film, because later (and I say this only somewhat tongue-in-cheek) do-gooders came and as ultimately in “Residents Only,” did the full restoration, although retaining the original grave adornments. It has been several years since I visited the area and the hope for decay springs eternal. I will post footage of the cemetery within a couple of months for anyone interested

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